The Government has just put Auckland and its council through a tortuous statutory planning exercise called the Unitary Plan.
After several years of a draft plan, submissions on a draft, a proposed plan, submissions and hearings, revised plans, appeals, a hearings panel and court proceedings, the Government largely got what it wanted: a blueprint for more intensive and extensive housing in the region of most rapid population growth.
Now, just a day after the High Court dismissed the final appeals against the Unitary Plan, the Government has announced a proposal to establish "urban development authorities" which would supersede that planning in designated parts of a city.
What is going on?
The answer, probably, is political anxiety.
This is election year and the Government knows housing remains the subject in the forefront of voters' minds. Houses have become unaffordable for most people without one, rents are rising as sale prices stabilise and mortgage interest rates are likely to be rising, too, by election day.
The only solution is to get more housing built as quickly as possible and the Government has been trying to devise a path of simpler, faster planning consent.
Three years ago it gave Auckland ''special housing areas''. The results so far are not spectacular.
Now the city is to get urban development authorities which will undertake substantial urban renewal in residential areas.
They will not only be able to build more intensive (and hopefully affordable) housing with different property titles, they will be empowered to design shopping centres, employment zones and even reconfigure the roading and other infrastructure in their patch of the city.
Building Minister Nick Smith calls it "a new phase of city development" and says the proposal is modelled on special purpose urban development authorities that produced Barangaroo in Sydney, London's Docklands, Roosevelt Island in New York and Marina Bay in Singapore.
The development authority will have power to acquire parcels of land, compulsorily if necessary, and design a development than can override existing district or regional plans if the Government approves.
The authority will be obliged to "consult" the surrounding community on its plans.
It would be a public body, answerable to the Government or local government, and it would levy the cost of infrastructure for the development, plus the cost of connecting to networks outside the project area and additional external infrastructure required to service the development.
But the whole proposal sounds tentative.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is inviting public submissions until May 17, after which legislation may be introduced. At best it will have reached a select committee before the election.
Yet by the ministry's own admission, Auckland's projected population growth will need at least 200,000 additional dwellings (twice Tauranga's present number) and may be as many as 350,000 (add Christchurch) within 15 years.
The need is urgent, co-ordinated development on this scale would help meet it. But so much for the council's pains-taking statutory plans.